Let’s have a look at some marketing statistics about customer retention versus customer acquisition:

  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products when compared to new customers
  • It can cost five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%

Though customer retention comes out as a clear winner, when it comes to planning a yearly budget, programs, and campaigns, marketers still traditionally focus on customer acquisition.

This is nothing strange if you consider that “customer acquisition versus customer retention” is frequently viewed as “quick wins versus long-term performance.” Quite naturally, many people prefer to invest in quick wins. While the studies show that repeat customers spend more than twice as much in months 24-30 of their relationships than they do in the first six months, there are not many sales and marketing professionals who can wait for two years before they present the results to their top management.

But long-term perspective also matters. So when you’re planning new customer acquisition campaigns, don’t forget to add one or two customer retention programs to your plan.

Customer Retention Programs that Work

All customer retention programs focus on improving customer communication and boosting customer loyalty. Positive customer experience is a must. The most common (and quite effective!) types of customer retention programs include:

  • Onboarding programs
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Customer satisfaction / customer feedback surveys
  • Referral programs
  • Personalized behavior-triggered / event-triggered communications

The existing clients who already recognize your brand are more likely to read your messages (versus considering them as spam), as well as respond, actively engage and take actions based on your communication.

Your first goal in this communication is, of course, to nurture a trusting relationship by bringing your clients some value. And it’s not only a special discount that they can earn. It could easily be educational or relevant-at-this-moment content, primary access to new services or products, or a simple thank-you note showing your appreciation.

Use Your Data

Take into consideration that you already have some information about your client. You know what they bought in the past, when, and where they bought it. The next questions are:

  • Is it the right time to send a reminder offering to replenish their stock?
  • Is there a complimentary item you’d recommend?
  • Maybe your company is opening a new store or office that’s closer to their home?

Providing your clients with a special offer usually results in high response rates. But if you do your homework, spend some time on proper segmenting and targeting, and use your client’s purchasing history, you’ll be able to create something better than a generic “special offer” campaign. Make sure your message is personalized: relevant, time-specific, and not lacking a personal touch.

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Direct Mail as a Customer Retention Channel

When NatureBox sought to increase repeat order rates from its entire customer base, the company couldn’t rely on email alone to drive orders. A large portion of these customers suffered from digital fatigue, and just weren’t opening NatureBox’s emails. But NatureBox knew that direct mail generates higher response rates than email on the whole.

As a result of this re-engagement campaign, customers receiving the direct mail had a 35% lift in orders per customer and nearly a 60% lift in net revenue per customer.

Lessons learned: With direct mail automation, you can do more than just retain customers – you can turn repeat customers into loyal customers with that special “human touch” that only a real postcard in your mailbox can bring. In fact, 82% of American adults say they are loyal to brands. These fans will definitely tell others about your brand and business.  

This means that with retention-focused direct mail campaigns, marketers get:

  1. Brand recognition
  2. Repeat store visits / purchases
  3. High-quality referrals
  4. Customer loyalty

3 Steps Before Launching a Direct Mail Retention Campaign:

  1. Analyze all available purchasing history data to create relevant messaging.
  2. Think of something special for your VIP or most loyal customers.
  3. Plan for cross channel customer experience: lead your clients to your social media profiles or to your company’s website, where they can redeem offers proposed, make purchases, use coupons, or interact with your brand a bit more.
VIP customers postcard

Seven Tips for an Effective Retention Direct Mail Campaign


Many marketers moved online and forgot about the benefits of direct mail. It remains a good way to contact your most loyal customers with that special “human touch” — especially if you incorporate personalization best practices common for emails. 90% of consumers are more likely to open a personalized direct mail addressing them by name. With Inkit’s direct mail software, you can leverage the high emotional impact of direct mail by personalizing postcards and triggering them directly from your CRM.

Past purchases

Remind your customers about your brand on a regular basis. Your mailing lists are the best platform to start your retention direct mail campaigns. If you have an existing database with the purchase history of your clients, it will be easier for you to segment your mailing lists. Use Inkit’s CRM automation to create different customized offers for each individual customer.

Special offers

Include personalized reminder postcards or invitations for seasonal sales, scheduled services, upcoming events, and special dates. In addition, schedule a couple of non-seasonal rewards for your most loyal customers. After all, don’t they deserve an occasional surprise from you?

For example, a handwritten promo code offer with no time restriction or a “Happy Customer Day” discount will make them smile and remember your thoughtfulness.


Give bonuses for customer loyalty. Make it a special privilege instead of a one-timediscount or a coupon, for example:

  • Free add-on to the product they purchased. If you are running a hotel, send them a coupon for free breakfast during their next stay.
  • Free shipping or new product installation
  • Extended opening hours for your most loyal customers
  • An “honored member” status with some benefits included.


Offer a discount or a present if your customers refer your business to a friend. Bookstores frequently use this strategy to grow their databases: “Bring a friend and get 27% off your next purchase.”


Feedback is an important part of improving customer experience. And don’t be afraid of receiving negative feedback — you actually need both types, positive and negative, to keep your customers interested in your brand.

Include a QR code for quick survey access, and make it as brief and as interactive as possible. Plan for receiving negative feedback: set up alerts for low marks, include a personalized guide on how to solve the problem, or call back to personally help your clients with it.


To keep your loyal customers engaged, combine offline marketing with digital channels. Include a URL to your website and invite your clients to solve a puzzle or participate in an online quest using their smartphones to find a hidden discount.

In Conclusion

Direct mail is a powerful customer retention channel. With Inkit’s automation and integration capabilities, plug-and-play dashboard, and speed-to-market, direct mail will prove to be an efficient, cost-effective way to re-engage your clients. Use direct mail to show your appreciation and customer-focused, personalized approach. Reward customer loyalty, and invest in long-term performance programs to beat your competitors in the long run.

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